Goals from Pavlyuchenko and Huddlestone earned Spurs a hard-fought win
By Oliver Brett
Tottenham ended Fulham's unbeaten start in the league with a come-from-behind win sealed with a goal that was very nearly disallowed for offside.
Fulham were the more consistent threat in the first half and led after Clint Dempsey evaded two defenders, setting up a simple goal for Diomansy Kamara.
But Spurs equalised immediately when Rafael van der Vaart turned Aaron Hughes to set up Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Tom Huddlestone's winner struck from range stood after consultation.
The assistant referee Martin Yerby had initially flagged for offside as he saw William Gallas drift past the last defender.
But by then Huddlestone's shot from a corner, driven right-footed from outside the area, was already heading for the bottom corner of Mark Schwarzer's goal.
Hughes queries ref's change of mind
Gallas made a cursory effort to toe-poke the ball home but Yerby and referee Mike Dean, following a lengthy pitchside conference, eventually agreed that the goal should stand.
Harry Redknapp's Spurs line-up was a strong one as they went in search of their first win at Craven Cottage in the league since 2002, and they started the brighter of the two sides.
Van der Vaart was playing in his preferred position just off lone front man Pavlyuchenko, with Luka Modric shifted to the right, but it was Gareth Bale skipping down the left wing who was the early danger, creating the first chance of the game for Pavlyuchenko, who dragged a shot wide.
Fulham were much better as the half developed, and Kamara should have given the home team the lead, but he could only head Simon Davies' corner wide after being picked out completely unmarked.
Fulham's next chance saw Hughes nod Danny Murphy's right-wing cross over the top after a dreadful error from Modric.
Finally the home team got the lead they had begun to threaten. Dempsey, played in by Davies, escaped the attentions of Ledley King and Alan Hutton before a trickled cross found its way to Kamara, who gleefully side-footed the ball home.
But Tottenham sensationally levelled straight from kick-off. Huddlestone passed to Bale, who found Van der Vaart, and he left Hughes for dead with two terrific touches with his left foot.
Redknapp focused on retaining top four spot
The Dutchman chipped his shot against the crossbar, the ball dropping down to allow Pavlyuchenko to score from point-blank range.
Before the end of the half, Spurs lost their limping captain King, Sebastien Bassong coming on and at half-time Harry Redknapp pulled his central midfielder Sandro out of the action, sending Aaron Lennon to bomb down the right wing as Modric was pushed inside.
Schwarzer was on hand to deny Van der Vaart from Lennon's cross as Tottenham came out determined to find a winner.
Lennon then shot weakly at Schwarzer after being set up by Pavlyuchenko, but the next bit of action saw Spurs take a lead after most Fulham fans had spent a good 30 seconds assuming Huddlestone's goal was about to be disallowed.
It was a sickening moment for the home team, but in truth they only had themselves to blame for failing to take a point.
Kamara squandered two more excellent chances in the final quarter of the match, and Carlos Salcido should have done much better when Gomes flapped a cross into his path.
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